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NRT: “The TPP is too important for democracy”

Written By: - Date published: 5:27 pm, February 1st, 2016 - 40 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: , , , ,

no-right-turnReposted from No Right Turn

That’s what Fran O’Sullivan seems to be arguing in her bitter little rant in Saturday’s Herald against Labour’s opposition to the TPP:

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is too important to New Zealand’s economic future for Andrew Little to turn it into a partisan political football.


It is difficult to understand why Little prefers the judgment of NGO activists over that of a former NZ Trade Minister who not only negotiated the ground-breaking bilateral China free trade deal but also finalised the Asean deal with New Zealand and Australia.

Frankly there is nothing responsible in Little’s positioning.

Labour, of course, is representing its constituents, many of whom have significant doubts about the TPP or its benefits to New Zealand (or to them). That’s what political parties should do in a democratic country. O’Sullivan calls this “turn[ing trade] into a partisan political football”. I call it “offering voters a democratic choice on trade policy”. And it speaks volumes that O’Sullivan thinks this is a bad thing. Its a perfect example of the sniffy, anti-democratic attitudes of the MFAT deep state, that trade and foreign policy is something to be conducted over our heads and in secret, by “adults” who “know” what our interests are (and stick their fingers in their ears whenever we tell them they’re wrong), rather than openly and in accordance with our wishes. And the sooner we end that attitude, by requiring Parliamentary and/or public consent to any international deal, the better.

40 comments on “NRT: “The TPP is too important for democracy” ”

  1. vto 1

    So Fran O’Sullivan bases her points solely on what precisely?

    I don’t see any evaluation of facts or evidence. I only see a rant against types of people.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Was Fran one of the Attack on Democracy journalists that the NZHerald used to paint the last Labour led government as dictatorial? You know, one of the ones that said that Labour acted as if they knew best and didn’t listen to the people?

    Exactly as National have been acting since they got into power.

    • Paul 2.1

      She is just another owned member of the corporate media.
      Some people would sell their country away for only a few pieces of silver.

  3. vto 3

    Fran O’Sullivan comes across the same as many farmers who just grump and storm off like children when questioned.

    ha ha suck it up – people like you Fran are past your use-by date. The world is moving on and you aint on the bus.

  4. Muttonbird 4

    What we are not being told by anyone is the history of the supposed bi-partisan approach to free trade agreements negotiated in the past. The kind of bipartisanship Farrar and O’Sullivan et al gush over as if it’s just something which has just been done in the past without question.

    Looks to me this time National, true to form, did not engage the opposition in a bipartisan way and they certainly ignored one of Labour’s bottom lines.

    David Clark says Labour was shut out of TPP discussions while O’Sullivan seems to suggest it was all a love-in in the past.

    I’d like to know the details of past opposition engagement and what National offered Labour this time because knowing the way this government operates (i.e. cosy deals behind closed doors) I suspect the Nats did shut the opposition out of the process in the same way they shut the NZ public out of the process.

    • Nick Nack 4.1

      “I’d like to know the details of past opposition engagement and what National offered Labour this time…”

      How many of Labour’s ‘bottom lines’ does the final text not satisfy? The answer will give you an idea how the level of consultation.

  5. Tautuhi 5

    The TPPA represents extreme corporate facism?

  6. Big dog 6

    This Lady has only one stance.National great,everyone else bad.There doesn’t seem any sense in reading her fawning drivel ,so I dont!

  7. RedLogix 7

    On reflection the dangerous aspect of the TPP is not so much that it imposes constraints on our national sovereignty, but crucially that the limits are being imposed by all the wrong people.

    Most especially by corporates and entities with no democratic accountability whatsoever. Because when we talk about ‘globalisation’ we need to be careful about exactly what we mean by that word.

    My argument has long been, that in the absence of a global body that exercises an authentic, democratic and just governance … other darker actors have not too surprisingly seeped into the void created. In the short term we might defeat the TPP; but unless we are willing to look at what it will take to establish a just society for all peoples; in the long-run we will fight this battle over and again.

    • AmaKiwi 7.1


      This is our contemporary battle. The corporates are more powerful than parliaments because they pay for representative’s election victories. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

      • vto 7.1.1

        Agree it is a +1 comment.

        Having “corporations” involved like this is full blown fascism.

        Might sound extreme, especially for weak-tummy kiwis (yeah nah that stuff doesn’t happen here… even though heaps of such shit has in fact happened here), but it is verifiable fact.

  8. Paul 8

    John Campbell interviewed Todd McClay today.
    We found out the following:

    Powhiri has been organised
    More information being provided tomorrow.
    Won’t reveal if US representative is here.
    Todd McClay dodged answering whether the US was still pressurising NZ over biologics. Which means they are.
    Todd McClay dodged answering whether Congress would want more from the TPPA.
    Todd McClay is not worried that Pharmac costs would be greater.
    Todd McClay dodged answering about if New Zealand is vulnerable to Investor State Dispute settlements.
    Todd McClay dodged answering about why Europeans have rejected State Dispute settlements.
    Todd McClay dodged answering whether there is an appeal process to the Investor State Dispute settlements.

    So we found out the government has got a lot to hide.


    • tc 8.1

      Of course there’s a lot to hide otherwise one of the heavy hitters would front this rather than rent a minister types like Todd.

      • Whispering Kate 8.1.1

        And that’s the reason Tim Groser buggered off to Washington when it was all over bar the shouting. You won’t see his signature on the agreement craven coward that he is and not being here and backing it to the hilt. He supposedly worked bloody hard to get it over the line – what a tosser. Doesn’t want it on his CV. And “no name” won’t have his scrawl on it either.

  9. peterlepaysan 9

    The TPPA has always been a political football. Just ask the US congress. If the TPPA is a political football it sure as hell was not Andrew Little who made it one.

    O’Sullivan, to her eternal discredit, is spouting National Party Crosby Textor propaganda by trying to pin opposition toTPPA on Andrew Little.

    There are a lot of people of various political party loyalties as well as uncommitted voters concerned about TPPA. I know several NATS who very uneasy about The TPPA, including several high powered executives who are very nervous.

    OBTW there is nothing responsible in comparing the China ft deal or the ASEAN deal with the TPPA. The consequences of each of these deals are very, very different. An honest journalist would know and acknowledge it.

    If O’Sullivan is too lazy to research that she ought not have her job.

    I am very sceptical that Little preferred the judgement of NGO activists over that of a former trade minister How the hell would OSullivan know that!

    OBTW does it mean that former trade ministers are always correct and ngo activists (whoever they are?) are always wrong. Sounds like ruling class bullshit to me.

    Frankly, there is nothin responsible in O’Sullivan’s plea for continued employment with anyone.

    Typical lazy Herald pimp interviewing the keyboard again and desperate to stay employed by the totally unbiased Herald.

  10. Nick Nack 10

    “That’s what political parties should do in a democratic country.”
    And that’s what NZ will do. The ratification process will involve open and transparent debate. Indeed there is going to be far more transparency over the TPP than was the case for the China FTA (for example we have had far more time with the full transcript than we had with the CFTA). Following the ratification, every piece of enabling legislation will be put before parliament and debated. So there is going to be ample opportunity for reasoned debate.

    “O’Sullivan calls this “turn[ing trade] into a partisan political football”.”
    I believe that comment was specifically in relation to advice from, amongst others, Lori Wallach. Wallach is not qualified to advise anyone. She is a self appointed ‘expert’ with zero cred in the US, as any background check on her shows. Like Jane Kelsey, she is anti free trade, hardly an impartial source of information.

    • Stuart Munro 10.1

      Why not have transparency now Nick? And, if as you claim the Gnats suddenly give a toss about democracy, why not have the openess before?

      Is it because Tim Groser’s work would not withstand peer review? Because that’s the way it looks. So on one side we have respected coherent rational academics like Kelsey, and on the other we have lying secretive corporate shills like Groser. It’s a no-contest.

      Take this crooked deal and shove it where Hosking is usually to be found.

      • Nick Nack 10.1.1

        “Why not have transparency now Nick? ”

        We have the same level of transparency, indeed more, than we had for the China FTA. Were you complaining then?

        “why not have the openess before?”

        Because that isn’t the way these matters are negotiated. Never has been.

        The deal is a good one. And NZ will be signing it.

        • framu

          “We have the same level of transparency”

          so we had to find everything out from foreign media then as well?

          The fact remains – NZ has been a hell of a lot more closed and secretive than other countries on this issue, – a deal with vastly more scope and reach than the china FTA

          “the deal is a good one”

          The models used to make that claim appear to be flawed

          • Nick Nack

            “The fact remains – NZ has been a hell of a lot more closed and secretive than other countries on this issue,”

            That’s plainly false. The text of the TPP was released at the same time to each country. The time given for scrutiny of the TPP is considerably longer than applied for the China FTA. The TPP will go through a robust Parliamentary scrutiny, far more so than many recent obligations that I’m sure you are happy we signed up to (eg Paris).

            There is a great deal of excellent material available both for and against the TPP. Your choice was flat, I’m afraid. After looking at both sides for some time, I’m of the view that on balance this is beneficial to NZ, and we can’t afford not to be in. On that, I’m in Helen Clarks camp.

            • pat

              nice meme…..you could be in for a bonus

            • framu

              “That’s plainly false. The text of the TPP was released at the same time to each country. ”

              Have you forgotten just how we found out that it was being signed in NZ on the 4th?

              theres way more info, discussion, media releases, interviews, etc etc out there than the released text – cmon nick what sort of game are you playing here?

              ps: re: beneficial – did you read the link, esp in regard to modelling used

              • Nick Nack

                “Have you forgotten just how we found out that it was being signed in NZ on the 4th?”

                Who cares? The signing is a mere formality. It’s the content that counts.

                “did you read the link, esp in regard to modelling used”

                Yes, I did. Modelling is modelling. It’s like saying that because there have been multiple failures by scientists with modelling climate change that it isn’t happening. One of the reasons I have rejected much of the criticism is that I have found similar comments made by people about other FTA’s in the past, FTA’s that have brought real benefit to NZ. I’m not getting carried away by the hype, but anyone who thinks being in a trade deal with 40% of the planets economy is not a good thing is plainly deluded.

                • framu

                  yeah who cares that its an example of how our govt has been more secretive with us than other countries – which was my point. You just shifted the goal posts on your own claim

                  and you might have read the links – but you quite clearly dont understand the point being made – otherwise you would have shown why its wrong instead of a blanket dismissal followed by ad hom made of straw and deliberate misrepresentation

                  • Nick Nack

                    “…yeah who cares that its an example of how our govt has been more secretive with us than other countries – which was my point. ”

                    And your point was incorrect. There is no evidence that our Gvt has been “more secretive with us than other countries”. It’s actually quite funny for you to assert that when the opponents of the TPP across al of the countries involved are arguing about the level of secrecy.

                    “otherwise you would have shown why its wrong ”

                    There has been ample back and forth about the benefits. I can point you to sound studies showing the benefits, just as you can post rebuttals. The reality is that all of this analysis is speculative, which is why I acknowledge there are pro’s and con’s with the TPP. Even your own article acknowledges:

                    “As a consequence, they find genuine – but far more modest – gains to New Zealand of 2.3 % growth in exports during the forecast period to 2025 alongside a net loss of 5,000 jobs. For New Zealand the export gains are considerably larger than for the US, Japan and Canada – for some of whom the TPP will create significant losses – and entail a smaller extent of job destruction.”

                    My point is simply that NZ has benefitted enormously from FTA’s in the past. The TPPA involves such a huge portion of the global economy that to be shut out would be simply foolish for a trading economy like NZ’s. The potential downsides of joining the TPP have, in my view, been grossly exaggerated, as was the opposition to pretty much all trade deals NZ has signed in the past, going all the way back to CER (which Helen Clark opposed btw).

                    • framu

                      “And your point was incorrect. ”

                      are you talking just the released text or all discussions re tpp?

                      im not incorrect – how did we find out the signing was in NZ and on the 4th? – the chilliean media – against a background of JK telling lies about it here

                      and you still havent pointed out why you think the claim of faulty modelling is wrong – you just shifted the goal posts by focusing on an entirely different point! – A point that withers to dust if the modelling is wrong in the first place

                      This is a repeat of the same dead end discussion i had with you a few days back – where you repeatedly jump past a point and try and assert something that hinges on a mutual acceptance of the initial point (or at the least an acknowledgement that you get the point being made)

                      you repeatedly talk past the issue and focus on generalisations as a way to discuss a specific item

                    • Nick Nack

                      “how did we find out the signing was in NZ and on the 4th? ”

                      That’s a single issue that has nothing to do with the TPPA contents. Is that really the best example you have to make your point?

                      “and you still havent pointed out why you think the claim of faulty modelling is wrong ”

                      I don’t think you understood my point. Even the article you cited admits there are benefits to the TPP. The debate is over the quantum. I’m simply saying that debate is largely academic because it is principally speculative. I specifically addressed your point by citing previous FTA’s that were subject to the same criticism and yet have substantially benefitted NZ.

                    • framu

                      kinda funny that when i suggest you are behaving a certain way you prove it in the reply.

                    • Nick Nack

                      If you read my responses more carefully, you would see addressed your concerns. Like so many on both sides of this debate you seem to have an ideological bent that will not be shifted.

      • Nick Nack 10.1.2

        “Why not have transparency now Nick? ”

        We have the same level of transparency, indeed more, than we had for the China FTA. Were you complaining then?

        “why not have the openess before?”

        Because that isn’t the way these matters are negotiated. Never has been.

        The deal is a good one. And NZ will be signing it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2

      Following the ratification, every piece of enabling legislation will be put before parliament and debated.

      Apart from those that can be enacted via regulation by the executive.

      If you’re going to pretend to know something about it you really need to get up to speed.

      • Nick Nack 10.2.1

        “Apart from those that can be enacted via regulation by the executive.”

        That’s why we have general elections. The TPP has been in negotiation since 2008. National have won 3 elections since then. And the ratification, committee and debate will all be held in public. That’s democracy.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          That’s funny, because it looks like a bunch of trite slogans lacking wit or substance to me.

  11. savenz 11

    Not only is TPPA is terrible risky deal to sign up to, Groser has not done due diligence and allowed NZ more exposure to risks than other countries.

    No wonder he gets the job of ambassador to the US. We all know who he is working for and it is not the people of NZ for our interests.

  12. AB 12

    Fran likes to mix it with business ‘movers and shakers” (as she would gushingly describe them). Gives her a mistaken sense of her own importance. Boosterism for National is her default style. She’s been pumping out Tory drivel for years interspersed with rare examples of insight.

  13. Sabine 13



    Quote” In today’s statement the judges and prosecutors call “special courts” for only one group in society “the wrong way” to ensure legal certainty and security. They also raise serious concerns over the independence of the judges in the Commission proposal, ranging from lack of financial independence to unclear selection criteria. According to the statement, “this makes the ICS not look like an international court, but more like a permanent arbitration tribunal.” Quote End.

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